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Flackery Humiliates ‘Buried’ Screenwriter By Helping Him With Oscar Rule-Breaking

By | Friday December 31, 2010 @ 2:27am PST

And here I thought only Los Angeles flackery mPRm’s name was moronic. Turns out this fish stinks at the head because its co-founder and president Mark Pogachefsky is now blaming his own client for an Oscar rule-breaking situation that the PR firm should have prevented instead of aided and abetted. After a lot of Sundance hype because of its claustrophobic nightmare premise and star Ryan Reynolds, this movie came and went at the box office in record time after making only $1 million domestic. And not even distributor Lionsgate is campaigning Buried for an Academy Award or anything else. So Buried has zero chance of any golden statuettes this season without its studio support. And yet mPRm while repping Buried let its screenwriter Chris Sparling commit an Oscar taboo even though he didn’t know the rules, as Pogachefsky is admitting. (“Weirdly, I would not be surprised if this was not a setup just to get attention,” Deadline’s awards columnist Pete Hammond comments to me. “How else would he get any notice?”) Entertainment Weekly‘s Dave Karger scoops that Sparling sent a personal missive to members of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ writers branch gushing about his screenplay — “no film this year — or ever — has done so much with so little” — and respectfully asking them to read it in hopes that it would land on their ballot for Best Original Screenplay. Well, the return address belongs to mPRm. Still, this is hardly a repeat of last year’s Nicolas Chartier scandal because The Hurt Locker was an … Read More »

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Hollywood Publicist Exits R&C For PMK*BNC

By | Thursday December 9, 2010 @ 5:27pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Cheryl Maisel will be leaving Rogers and Cowan and coming back to PMK*BNC as an EVP in talent. She will be bringing long-standing clients like Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Craig Ferguson, and others.

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Sarah Greenberg Roberts Leaves Lionsgate

By | Monday December 6, 2010 @ 5:17pm PST

I’m not sure what the fuss is about. Sarah Greenberg Roberts was Lionsgate’s longtime PR-woman overseeing corporate publicity as well as theatrical and home entertainment campaigns before she was given the marketing co-president title even though Tim Palen has always performed that role. Roberts, who recently had a baby, married a New Yorker and left LA to be with him. Her departure was not unexpected because the studio wants the position based here. Lionsgate doesn’t need to make its next move in this arena until March-April, an insider tells me, so will ”use the moment” to decide whether to bring in someone “super senior”. As for Roberts, I’ve always liked her and I wish her well. Rubenstein PR has been handling Lionsgate’s flackery in her absence.

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3 Hollywood Marketing/PR Firms Join Up

By | Monday November 29, 2010 @ 4:53pm PST

Three Hollywood boutique marketing and PR agencies that include showbiz among their clients announced today they’ve formed a joint venture: Evolutionary Media Group (Jennifer Gross), Period Media (Matt Walker), and Platform Media Group (Henry Eshelman) have formed a joint venture, The Communications Partnership. While each division of the new venture will retain its brand identity, the new combo expects to cross-pollinate clients and pitches. Gross has more than 20 years’ experience in the entertainment industry. Eshelman founded PMG after 18 years with Hollywood agency BWR in 2006. Period Media installed Walker as head of flackery in 2009.

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Friends Of Ronni Chasen To Gather At Michael’s In Gotham Tonight

Mike Fleming

Plans have been formalized for a gathering tonight in New York to celebrate the life of Ronni Chasen. Friends and colleagues of the beloved publicist are being invited to Michael’s at 24 W 55th Street from 6-8 PM to have a drink in her honor. Last night, I attended a DGA screening of Ed Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs. At a post-screening party at Tomate, the shock over her death dominated the conversation. She was part of the Oscar push on many of this year’s  films, including that one. If there are any questions about tonight, call Scott Rudin’s office.

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Showbiz Publicists Aid Ronni Chasen’s Firm

R.I.P. Ronni Chasen
Pete Hammond Remembers Ronni Chasen
Oscar Publicist Ronni Chasen Shot And Killed In Beverly Hills Driving Back From ‘Burlesque’ Premiere In Hollywood

Usually the fiercely competitive Hollywood PR landscape is ”populated heavily with the most mendacious and vicious group of people”, in the words of one of them. But not today. Throughout the morning and afternoon, rival firms offered their assistance and sustenance to the shocked and grieving employees of Ronni Chasen’s publicity firm. The companies sent their own staff members to assist with phone calls and memorial details as well as lunch for all the personnel. Tonight, Chasen’s friends and former colleagues are gathering at the Four Seasons Hotel outside Beverly Hills to remember her. Producer Scott Rudin is organizing a similar gathering in New York City tomorrow for the people who worked with Ronni. Both groups have asked that the media give them privacy. Today, Ronni’s longtime colleague at Chasen & Co Publicity, Jeff Sanderson, made this tribute which summed up the reaction of so many in the showbiz publicity field: “There was no one like Ronni Chasen. Passionate.  Dedicated. Tenacious. Loyal. Lovable. She was an iconic publicist who loved her clients and always strived to do her best for them. To me she was not only my colleague and mentor for over 18 years, but also my dearest friend and a part of my family. I will feel her loss every day, … Read More »

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SHOCKER! Oscar Publicist Ronni Chasen Shot And Killed In Beverly Hills Driving Back From ‘Burlesque’ Premiere In Hollywood

Showbiz Publicists Help Ronni Chasen’s Firm
Pete Hammond Remembers Ronni Chasen
R.I.P. Ronni Chasen

3RD & 4TH UPDATE, 12 PM:  Shock and dismay and in some cases tears swept Hollywood this morning when news spread that popular Oscar publicist Ronni Chasen had been the tragic victim of violence around midnight in the Sunset and Whittier area of Beverly Hills. Here’s more intel about the 64-year-old’s last hours: The Oscar campaign and holiday movie season got fully underway at the start of this week. She was lobbying media to write positive articles promoting Academy Award nominations for Michael Douglas in the Supporting Actor category for Twentieth Century Fox’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and for Walt Disney Studios’ Alice In Wonderland 3D in the Best Picture category. Both were the subject of a combination business and social phone call from her office with Deadline editor-in-chief Nikki Finke from 5:30 PM through 6:30 PM. Then the Oscar publicist drove her late model black Mercedes Benz E350 to Sony Pictures Entertainment/Screen Gem’s premiere of the movie Burlesque at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Then she attended the after-party at Drai’s in the W Hotel. ”“We were all together last night, and Ronni was having the best time doing what she enjoyed most,” recalls producer Donald De Line. ”When we all said goodbye last night, little did we know it would be our last. I am in shock; that this could happen is incomprehensible. Only a few hours ago we were celebrating. I’m glad she was happy last night and that she was in all her glory.”

She left the party and drove down Sunset Blvd through West Hollywood and just at the start of Beverly Hills (most likely heading towards her home in Westwood) when she was shot and killed sometime around midnight. Chasen’s friends say she made a call to her office about 8 minutes before the gunfire to put a reminder on her office voicemail. “She was not feeling in danger,” a source said. Beverly Hills police at 12:28 AM received information regarding shots that were heard in the area of Sunset and Whittier. Shortly after, Ronni’s car was discovered in a collision with a lightpole in the same area and she was found inside with multiple gunshot wounds to her chest. Police sources say Ronni’s car window was broken but nothing was taken from her purse. She was transported from the scene by paramedics and pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. This reaction just came in from Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures which hosted the Burlesque premiere that turned out to be Chasen’s last Hollywood event: “Ronni was a dear friend and cherished member of our community. She was at our premiere last night and so full of her trademark energy and love of life. We are heartbroken, shocked and completely devastated.”

2ND UPDATE: The Beverly Hills police have issued this statement about Ronni Chasen’s murder, now confirmed by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office: “At approximately 12:28 AM, Beverly Hills officers received information regarding shots that were heard in the area of Sunset and Whittier. Shortly after, a collision was reported in the same area. Units arrived in the area and discovered, a newer black Mercedes Benz E350 involved in a solo crash with a lightpole. The lone female occupant was located in the vehicle with apparent multiple gunshot wounds to her chest. Beverly Hills paramedics transported her to a local hospital, where she was later pronounced deceased. The investigation is in the preliminary stages, and no further information is available. Also, there is no suspect information or motive at this time.”

UPDATE 9:45 AM: Nikki Finke has confirmed that Ronni Chasen was “shot and killed” last night, according to Beverly Hills police. Nikki spoke to her at 5:30 last night. Ronni was promoting Michael Douglas for Best Supporting Actor for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, as well as Alice In Wonderland 3D for Best Picture. A friend said that, after leaving the office, Ronni attended the premiere of the Sony Pictures/Screen Gems film Burlesque. A longtime Rogers & Cowan senior movie publicist, spanning decades, Chasen went out on her own, establishing Chasen & Company Publicity around 1991. She had a thriving business, especially at awards time, representing directors, writers, musicians, actors, and films. Read More »

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Walt Disney Studios Changing Head Flack

EXCLUSIVE: John J. Nicoletti is exiting as VP of Global Communications for The Walt Disney Studios and returning to flack for the Walt Disney Parks And Resorts. He’ll be replaced by Paul Roeder, a Walt Disney Studios publicist and disciple of chief Disney PR woman Zenia Mucha. “John realized he was in over his head in the movie division and wanted to go back to what he was doing before,” an insider tells me. Before joining the studio, Nicoletti served as director of external communications for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ Worldwide Public Affairs team.  Roeder was promoted by Mucha to manager in her corporate communications department and then to director. Early this year, she installed him at the studio under Nicoletti. Now he’s VP. So here’s what happened:

When Secretariat opened to disappointing box office on October 8th, I wrote what a “weak start” this was for Disney marketing under the new Rich Ross regime and that “no one’s impressed yet with Ross’ new marketing czarina MT Carney (who comes across as Ross’ Yes Woman, I hear)”. For reasons I don’t fully comprehend, my words made Nicoletti panic and, without obtaining approvals from Rich Ross or Zenia Mucha, he put Carney on the phone with two Hollywood news outlets on October 10th solely because they weren’t Deadline. Carney was supposed to only talk about Secretariat marketing and instead gave full-blown interviews. The next day, when both Mucha and Ross saw the Carney interviews, they were dismayed, to say the least. Nicoletti feared he would … Read More »

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Lippin Group Expands In Film & Digital PR

By | Tuesday October 5, 2010 @ 3:46pm PDT

The Lippin Group just added three VPs as it continues to expand its activities in the feature film and digital content communications arena. The announcement was made today by chairman/CEO Dick Lippin of what is one of the largest independent showbiz PR agencies. “At a time when our industry is still experiencing economic aftershocks, we are fortunate that our business continues to grow,” he said in a statement. The new flacks are: Elizabeth Wolfe, who joins the agency’s Los Angeles headquarters and is an 18-year entertainment publicity veteran with extensive theatrical, home entertainment, corporate, product, personal and media relations experience worldwide. She most recently served as SVP Worldwide Read More »

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UK Film Council Spending “Tens of Thousands Of Pounds” Hiring Lobbyists

This morning’s Times of London reports that the film agency has hired political lobbyists Portland, the PR firm founded by a former adviser to Tony Blair. Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has written to John Woodward, CEO of the Film Council, demanding he explain why has taken on Portland, whose other clients include McDonalds and the Russian government. Ed Vaizey, the culture secretary, wrote to the UKFC last week accusing the quango of “overzealously briefing in order to protect their interests”. This was before news that UKFC has hired an external PR firm came out. Treasury regulations prohibit quangos from using public money to employ PR firms to lobby government. UK Film Council says that it’s not using public money to fight against closure. Rather, its two-man press team have been overwhelmed by thousands of media enquiries. Portland is solely there to help the internal PR team cope with the tsunami of emails and phone calls.

The Times points the finger at Portland for procuring letters of support for the UKFC from Clint Eastwood and DreamWorks. UK Film Council head of communications Oliver Rawlins told trade mag PR Week that nobody from his team liaised with Eastwood or DreamWorks to invite to make their comments, despite handling a comms strategy relying on third-party advocacy. “We’ve ensured that the message has been simple, clear and consistent: this is a terrible decision that disregards the commercial benefits of the UK Film Council, the significant … Read More »

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FAN ALERT: Warner Bros Unveils Eleven Comic-Con Limited Edition Collector Bags

By | Wednesday July 14, 2010 @ 9:28am PDT

comicon1Luke Y Thompson covers the Con for Deadline:

I’ve always been amazed at Comic-Con just how crazy the fans can go for giant tote bags featuring a picture of Wonder Woman. But maybe it’s because there are so many overpriced exclusives from various vendors that the free ones are duly appreciated. For the past four years, Warner Bros Entertainment’s limited-edition, signature oversize canvas tote bags have been a must-have at Comic-Con, with tens of thousands of fans flocking to the WB booth on the convention floor to snag what is often called the Con’s “ubiquitous accessory.”

fringeconCertainly, these large bags – which have featured Warner Bros/DC-related images other than the Amazing Amazon – are a tad sturdier than the plastic bags full of bargain toys I generally end up carrying around, but I’ve never quite felt up to battling the mob for one. This year, looks like I don’t have to because they’re no longer first-come, first-served. WB has made its giant bags part of an official partnership with Comic-Con. Sign in, and you automatically get one. No more fights at the WB booth for ‘em (though no doubt they’ll have other stuff you want, too). On one side of the bag will be artwork created for Comic-Con. On the other… well, here’s where it gets interesting for collectors, and the possibilities for new feeding frenzies begin.

Scooby-Doo_Mystery_IncorporatedSee, there are a whopping 11 random designs (official site is here.) and you, the attendee, get only one. You want all of them? You’d better make some friends, quickly. The 11 images are: “The Big Bang Theory,” “Chuck,” “Fringe,” “Human Target,” “Nikita,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” “The Looney Tunes Show,”
“Scooby-Doo!”, “Clash of the Titans”, or “Brightest Day”. presents an exclusive close-up look at two of the designs: One features the TV show FRINGE, while the other presents the cast of a brand-new SCOOBY-DOO cartoon, featuring the old gang drawn in that angular pseudo-anime style that’s popular nowadays: Read More »

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Paul Hewitt To Head Publicity For The CW

By | Friday June 18, 2010 @ 10:21am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Paul Hewitt has been upped to the top PR post at the CW, succeeding Paul McGuire, who yesterday was named SVP worldwide corporate communications for Warner Bros. Entertainment. McGuire, in turn, succeeded Scott Rowe who was promoted on Tuesday. Hewitt, who had served as VP corporate communications since the CW’s launch in 2006, has been promoted to SVP network communications, reporting to entertainment president Dawn Ostroff. In addition to his PR duties, Hewitt has been doing executive speechwriting and is known for writing speeches for CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves. Hewitt previously served as director and VP communications at UPN from 2002-2006.

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CW Head Of Communications Paul McGuire Goes To Warner Bros. Entertainment

By | Thursday June 17, 2010 @ 11:17am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Paul_McGuire-200x300Veteran TV PR executive Paul McGuire who has headed the press departments of three networks, UPN, the WB and, most recently, the CW, is joining Warner Bros  Entertainment as SVP Worldwide Corporate Communications. He is switching to the studio side after 23 years in network publicity.

McGuire will succeed Scott Rowe, who was recently promoted to SVP of worldwide communications for the Warner Bros Television Group, and will report to Susan Fleishman, EVP, worldwide corporate communications and public affairs, Warner Bros. In addition to his new duties, McGuire will continue to work with the CW as an advisor.

“Paul has been a part of the Warner family for a decade and has proven himself to be a leader whose vision and excellent relationships with the media are invaluable to our company,” Fleishman said.

McGuire most recently served as EVP network communications for the CW, a post he held since the network’s 2006 launch. Before that, he worked as EVP network communications for the WB, SVP media relations for UPN and VP primetime program publicity for NBC.

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Wash Out Their Mouths With Soap!

By | Thursday June 17, 2010 @ 10:22am PDT
Mike Fleming

twilight-new-moonDeadline recently delved into the potential career calamity of quotes from Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. Now, it seems restraint has gone out the window. Each day brings a dopey new pull-quote that makes you wonder: what the hell are these people thinking? While Kristen Stewart’s reps negotiated a two-picture salary for the Twilight finale that I hear will pay her in the neighborhood north of $12.5 million each, she gave a now infamous interview and likened paparazzi intrusion to rape. Co-star Rob Pattinson was just quoted doubting he won’t live past 30–he got a similar payday, giving him more incentive toward living to ripe old age than most people have. The websites this week are fixated on Cameron Diaz’s Playboy interview timed with Knight and Day. All the attention is on her unladylike graphic description of her sexual appetite and craving caveman-quality bedroom encounters. I’ve done plenty of celebrity magazine interviews and when actors rant, you’re grateful. Maybe there’s an increased desperation to get attention for films, but these stars seem to forget their words haunt them long after the movie is forgotten. Stewart apologized, and I sympathize with her struggle with intrusive fame few actors her age experience. But, c’mon already.Knight_and_Day(movie_wallpaper_pictures_photo_pics_poster)(260110092135)knight-and-day_innocenti_bugie_tom_cruise_cameron_diaz_1

Fox, whose past quotes factored into her being replaced in Transformers 3, has been relatively quiet in the run-up to the release of Jonah Hex. But her past outrageous comments … Read More »

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Warner Bros Promotes TV PR Executives Scott Rowe And Tammy Golihew

By | Tuesday June 15, 2010 @ 5:04pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Veteran studio publicist Scott Rowe has been named SVP of worldwide communications for the Warner Bros Television Group, and Tammy Golihew has been upped to SVP publicity of Warner Bros Television. The promotions come several months after the departure of Sharan Magnuson, SVP of worldwide publicity for WBTVG, who left because of health issues. Scott Rowe, SVP WW Comm, WBTVGTammy Golihew, SVP, Publicity, WBTVRowe will now oversee communications for WBTVG’s international and domestic cable and syndication distribution, executives, marketing and some production operations. He reports to Lisa Gregorian, EVP and chief marketing officer for WBTVG. Golihew will continue to oversee all consumer publicity and business communications for Warner Bros. TV, Warner Horizon, Warner Bros. Animation and digital venture Studio 2.0. She will report to WBTV president Peter Roth and Rowe. A 16-year Studio veteran, Rowe most recently served at SVP corporate communications, Warner Bros. Entertainment. Golihew joined Warner Bros. in 2006 as VP publicity in Gregorian’s Worldwide Television Marketing unit.

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EMMYS: USA Holds Ice Cream Voter Drive

By | Tuesday June 15, 2010 @ 1:17am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It’s Get Out Emmy Vote Time, and the networks and studios are taking their awards campaigns in and around and up in the air above bannersL.A. NBCU’s USA Network is running its biggest Emmy push ever this year, and hoping that the voters like ice cream or the beach (or both). Starting today, the cable network is deploying a Cool Haus truck to give away free ice cream sandwiches named after the network’s series at Los Angeles area locations with a high concentration of Industry types.

whitecollarUSA also has 3 planes flying in a formation over local studios and beaches this week carrying For Your Consideration banners for Burn Notice, White Collar and In Plain Sight. Those are the series which USA has put the most marketing muscle behind this Emmy season. (USA’s biggest success so far came from Monk‘s Tony Shalhoub, winner of 3 best comedy actor Emmys.)

I take issue with the airplane banners, especially since NBCU is at the forefront of Hollywood’s efforts to be environmentally conscious with its Green Is Universal campaign. But free ice cream is fine by me, and I don’t think a TV Academy membership badge is required to get one. (Whereas Universal Media Studios is betting that Emmy voters are regular Bloomingdale shoppers because of its For Your Consideration mannequin displays there. That may cost you.) Below is the list of the ice cream sandwich flavors and the truck’s itinerary: Read More »

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EMMYS: ‘Starry Night’ Key Art Unveiled

By | Monday June 14, 2010 @ 3:26pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

404236_EMMYS_KA_R10Here is the Key Art for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards, which the TV Academy will reveal tomorrow. It has a disco/Dancing With the Stars vibe and a monochromatic background that makes NBC’s “more colorful” logo at the bottom a little out of place. The theme this year is Starry, Starry Night.” Now that the slogan is set, the TV Academy brass sure are hoping that the Emmy nominations next month will live up to it, with the biggest TV stars making the cut and having a reason to walk the red carpet on August 29. BTW, for the first time, the TV Academy will be giving away 100 Emmy posters this year.

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EMMYS: Excuse Me, How Much Is Michael Scott’s Tie? NBC Uni Launches Mannequin Campaign At Bloomingdales

By | Wednesday June 9, 2010 @ 6:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

I’ve written about the popularity of 3D Emmy mailers this season. NBC Uni’s Universal Media Studios took the 3D Emmy promo trend one, well, a few steps further with the first ever department store-based NUP_140744_0005campaign featuring mannequin displays. Some customers shopping this week at the three Bloomingdales stories in the Los Angeles area – in Century City, at the Beverly Center and in Sherman Oaks – stumbled upon some unusual mannequin installations. Called “mannequin moments,” each is themed after an UMS-produced primetime series in contention for Emmy nominations with the mannequins dressed like characters from the series in settings and situations reminiscent of the shows. UMS’ costume designers dressed the mannequins with clothes from the Bloomingdales’ collections, and the studio’s visual artists created a scene representative of each show (for example: in the Parks & Rec display, a parks and rec worker in a hard hat is planting a tree while two colleagues sit on a park bench.)

emmyWhy Bloomingdales? UMS believes that most TV Academy voters live and/or work in West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley and are frequent Bloomingdales shoppers. One think I’m not clear about: how exactly would the stiff dummies inspire potential shoppers/Emmy voters to nominate their prototypes’ vivid performances?

The nine installations – for House, 30 Rock and Parks & Rec in Century City; for Community, Friday Night Lights and Law & Order: SVU at the Beverly … Read More »

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EMMYS: Series Awards Mailers Go 3D

By | Monday June 7, 2010 @ 3:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

bigbang3D seems to be the hottest thing in features right now, with most tentpole movies being turned into 3D releases. The trend is also hitting Emmy mailers this year, with many of them going 3D. In addition to the cool Big Bang Theory promo, a notebook that transforms into a 3D-moldel of the show’s primary sets, another CBS comedy series, How I Met Your Mother, also went for a pop-up motherbook effect with its mailer, featuring Neil Patrick Harris leaping out in a Singing In The Rain send-up. Harris, of course, is the leading acting Emmy contender on the show, which last year earned its first best series Emmy nomination (in addition to nomination No. 3 for Harris).

goodwife10Two other notable Emmy mailers I’ve gotten over the past week: Playing off its ripped-from-the-headlines premise of a wife reeling from her politician husband’s sex scandal, the mailer for CBS’ The Good Wife is a newspaper front page mockup with some of the glowing reviews for the show subbing for news stories. The Good Wife has a good chance for a best drama series nomination, while star Julianna Margulies is a virtual lock for a best lead drama series actress nomination after winning at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards. She also has the edge to win the Emmy and had history on her … Read More »

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